Common People, Sateen Sheets and Tattoos.

Wednesday, 3 July 1996  12:20pm

Started proofing my book today, but the power went off and there was nothing else we could do without a terminal, so Simon spread the proof around.  I was listening to my CD player (some circuits were still running) and I had on that compilation CD you gave me for Christmas.  I was listening to Common People by Pulp and getting maudlin.  I’m not sure which side of the song I should identify with.  I hate being poor.  How is it that I am poor?  How the hell has it come about?  I realize, of course, that I’m not really poor.  I have somewhere to live, I have nice things, but I’m always going to be firmly in the yoke of capitalism, staining to my last.  I dunno, it makes me feel like I should take flight with the crop of funsters (Paige and Lisa) that are about to leave our sunny shores.  Like I should abandon this slavish devotion to security that I have and become an adventurer.  Ho Hum.  I wish I knew now what it is that I’m going to regret in my dotage.

It’s a malaise day, Sis.  Pretty vacant, you know?  Spent hours in a dreary daze thinking about how long life is.  And how short.  You know what I mean. Opportunities zoom past while the dreariness drags on like temporal treacle.  Sigh. Malaise malaise malaise.

How’s Mum?  I wonder if she’s in Lapland right now.  I feel like I’m in the Lapland’s right now.  There’s this icy breeze that sears up the abandoned lift shaft at the back of the building and cascades down over the shelves behind me and onto my back.  I imagine it a frosty blue, and I’m a stone, dividing the icy flow which eddies around me. Malaise always brings out a tacky lyricism in me.

Went and saw Trainspotting last night, finally.  I went with Brett.  I didn’t think he was going to like it ‘coz it was about junkies, but he got a good laugh out of it.  I liked it, though for me every scene was being compared to the book, which always kinda ruins a film.  The character of Tommy certainly came more to life in the film than in the book.  I liked it.

Before the film I went with Pippa down to Myer to pick up my lay-by.  Ooh ah that Royal Sateen manchester is divine.  Pippa said she can get me some more at half-price, too.  I think I’ll take her up on it.

So I had the manchester with me, and then met Brett at Lara’s tattoo shop.  I pushed the glass door in and looked tentatively around, hearing that painful buzz of a tattoo gun in use.  Brett poked his head around the corner and waved me in . “Come in, man. Lara’s workin’ on a guy right now.”  I smiled and strolled with that rolling sailor’s gait I use when I want to seem larger than life ‘coz I’m feeling intimidated.  I saw some olive skinned guy sitting with his back to me.  Lara was working on his left shoulder,  I peered over to have a peek at the design.  It was a woman kneeling on her haunches with her head tipped back, both hands entangled in the tousled tresses cascading down her back.  She was wearing some kind of lingerie and her perky mid-sized tits were pointing skyward.  ‘Melissa’ was inscribed below.  I looked up from the tattoo and smiled at Lara, who was smiling at me.  Then I smiled at a girl sitting on a bench with a sour look, flicking through a magazine.  This was Melissa,  She had nice hair, but it was about a foot shorter than her epidermic homage.  She was a little dumpier too.  I smiled at her and thought ‘I’ve seen your tits – kinda.’  They guy under the needle turned around to fix me with an inquiring look.  I’t really nice,’ I said nodding.  he winced and said ‘Aww mate, it fuckin’ hurts, I tell ya.  If someone bumps it tonight, mate – I swear…’  I gave an agreeable snort as if to say ‘I know where you’re coming from buddy’ and raised my eyebrows at Brett to indicate my willingness to scram before I had to try and think up some other less general compliment for this puerile tattoo.  Brett gave his goodbyes and i smiled at the lovely couple and we hit the road.  Brett told me they’d been together for two years.  I thought to myself, ‘I was with Leah for two years.’

After the film Brett drove me home and came in to use my toilet.  I raced around trying to tidy up.  He came out and leaned against the wall, rubbing his temples as if my toxic dump of a house had already gen him a headache.  I racked my brain for something to talk about, and ended up reciting my litany of Winter Sale purchases.  Then Brett shows me his  Pension Card.  He’s on a pension now.  The government had a doctor look at him who came to the conclusion that he is not going to get well enough to work again in the immediate future, so now he’s on a pension.  I sat there feeling very superficial, surrounded by Myer and David Jones bags, fingering the flimsy plastic card with Pensioner 1996 emblazoned across it.  He said he gets annoyed every time he has to use it because everybody thinks he’s a smack head on Methodone.  Apparently, if you’re under sixty with a pension card, it basically means you’re a junkie.  I pity Brett’s illness, but not his dullness.

So I was trying to think of some way of getting rid of him for making me feel so uncomfortable (never let it be said I’m not a vindictive man) and for being so boring (he never has anything to talk about).  And then I thought of my Royal Sateen manchester.  I ripped open the lay-by bag and pulled out the pillow cases, flapping them about the room with their invisible cloud of detergents and sealed-up-plastic smell, saying ‘Ooh, aren’t they lovely Brett? Aren’t they lovely?’  It took about two minutes for him to pick up his keys and give his farewells,  A man’s nature will get the better of him, Sis. Yes it will.

Anyway I gotta get to workin’.



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